I spent part of last night absorbing the latest comprehensive Pew report on trends in public opinion over the last decade. It's a devastating indictment of the Bush-Rove strategy for conservatism and the Republican party. They may have created the most loyally Democratic generation since the New Deal with the under 25s. But check the other findings out. Party identification is now 50 percent Dem and 35 percent GOP. The country is now divided in two over the question of whether military strength is the key to ensuring peace; in 2002 62 percent were hawks and 34 percent were doves. Religious intensity is falling; acceptance of gay people is rising. The younger generation is the most secular of any. Support for the military has never been stronger - people don't blame the troops for the war. The country is divided down the middle on torture, but still in favor of preemptive war in some circumstances. Sorry, Dinesh, but women's equality and freedom are values now overwhelmingly popular among all groups, including Republicans, and strongest among the young. Since Bush has been president, there has been a sharp decline in the number of Americans favoring "old fashioned values about family and marriage." In the last ten years, opposition to gay marriage has dropped ten points and support has risen ten points. There has also been a striking twelve point increase in support for affirmative action over the past decade - all of it among whites.
It turns out that Karl Rove has gone a long way toward securing a permanent majority in American politics ... for liberals and Democrats. The collapse of a coherent, freedom-loving, reality-based conservatism is surely part of the reason.
(Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty.)